My Dog Bay. And Sleep.
For the last whatever years (five maybe?), I have gotten up each morning at around 2:00 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep until around four or five. I know that it is not good for me, but I don’t believe in drugs and really didn’t want to go there. So, I just made do. I was traveling last weekend (what an amazing weekend at an Inn by the water) and I took the fabulous Bayley to her babysitter. Bay is around five years old and the most fabulous dog around. I decided to leave her at the sitter for a few extra nights for a variety of reasons.
I slept through the night all three nights she was gone. Didn’t think a lick about it.
Then, when she came back, I was back to being up at two. Not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, it took me another day or two to realize that it’s Bay who wakes up at two and starts roaming around first, not me. She goes and gets water, and because she hates to eat alone, she also brings a bite or two of her food into the bedroom and eats it next to the bed. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. For another week I continued to let her sleep in my room, but I was getting madder and madder at her.
“Nice, Bay. It’s two in the morning and you have no respect for the fact that I pay for your paws to be padded and need to work in the morning. You just get up, roam around and wake me up every night. And, not only that, you jump on and off the bed as if I wasn’t even in it.”
The thing is, I didn’t say it out loud. While those who know me think I’m aggressive and out there with direct conflicts, I’m not at all. The real things never get said directly by me. I sit and marinate in them, and in this case, I was doing it from the bed, in the dark at 2:00 a.m.
So, anyway, for the last few weeks I have been wavering back and forth between trying to see if she can change her ways and putting her in the living room for the night.
I have Dog Guilt. I’m not Jewish, though we raised our daughter in the faith and perhaps her ability with the guilt thing has rubbed off on me. Dog Guilt is worse than people guilt because you feel stupid having it. I can’t believe that I would stop myself from getting a full night’s sleep because Bayley might not like sleeping in the living room on a lovely couch. Really. How do I even write it down? How can I be guilt-ridden over where the dog sleeps?
But, I am. I think about it at least five times a day and for the last few nights I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime trying to make sure she has longer quality time with me. It’s partially her fault. She knows I’m going to put her there now, and she sticks her tail between her legs and slinks around avoiding me. I have to lunge at her, catch her and lead her to the living room. Now, that really helps my guilt association, I can assure you.
I believe that all things happen for a reason. It’s my spiritual place. I really think that this is happening so I can evaluate the fact that Bay (or anyone for that matter) should not be more important than me and my well-being. No matter what she does with her tail when I go to put her in the living room, I should recognize that wanting a full night’s rest is my right. So, sorry Bayley, I’m resolved to never let you sleep in the room again.
But, I need to make sure she doesn’t mistake the living room for the dog house. There is no relationship between the two. Now I will spend hours, hours I tell you, trying to figure out how to make sure she understands that. I’m thinking treats will be involved.
I LOVE this, love how you take us through your aha moment, realizing only when you have actually have had two good night's sleeps what the problem is, and worrying how Bay will take this possibly disappointing news. Pet guilt is way worse than child guilt because they can't grow up and tell you about all the stupid things you did raising them. They are completely dependent, loving and devoted. Their only purpose in life is to love you, have you love them and maybe catch that one damn chipmunk who just KNOWS they can't get through the glass. But you can't love Bay if you are half in the sleep-bag, and I think treats can fix anything for a dog, can't they? This piece reminded me of the very special love between dogs and their people--made me miss my Amber again. Such a good piece!